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A brand new look: How to wash sneakers quickly and easily

how to wash sneakers

There’s no feeling quite like getting a new pair of trendy sneakers and swaggering around town to show them off. Then the inevitable happens. Mud, dirty puddles, grass stains, and suddenly your new sneakers have lost their shine. This doesn’t have to be the end of them though! Check out these sneaker cleaning tips to find out how easy it can be to keep your favorite sneaks looking brand new!

Know your sneakers

It’s not only important to know how to wash sneakers, but also what kind of washing techniques your kicks can handle. The first thing to check is the material. Generally, leather and suede, are not suitable for machine washing. We’d also advise that you don’t machine wash sneakers that are made from delicate materials like satin or silk. Yes, we know how cool you look in these, but it’s best to keep them well away from a washing machine! For these delicate materials, there are specialized-cleaning products available—more on that later. Thankfully, there are sneakers that are machine washable and, after all, that’s probably why you’re here right? More common materials and textiles like polyester, cotton and nylon, for example, are strong enough to put up with a washing machine. If you’re unsure, always check the label!

How to clean sneakers: Machine washing

Let’s face it—we probably all consider machine washing to be our favorite and best way to wash sneakers. There are things to watch out for though. We’ll take you through, step by step, to explain how to wash sneakers in the washing machine:

  • Preparing your sneaks: One of the best sneaker cleaning tips we can give you is this: Before you wash sneakers, always try to remember to remove the shoelaces before putting them in the machine (feel free to wash the shoelaces in the machine too, but it’s better to do this separately from the shoes). Washing sneakers with the shoelaces still on could result in them coming out with a big build-up of dirt around the eyelets. Removing the shoelaces before washing is the best way to clean sneakers, as it allows the water and detergent to clean throughout the eyelets. Another good trick is to scrub any dried, loose dirt off the sneakers using a toothbrush.
  • Choosing the right cycle: Before you press the start button, double check that your machine is set on the right washing cycle. A slower cycle is the best way to wash sneakers as it stops the shoes from being bashed around in the machine. Another tip for reducing this issue: Fill the rest of the machine with something like towels or blankets. These will act as a buffer and protect the sneakers. If your machine has an independent setting for temperature, choose cold.
  • Going easy on the detergent: The amount of detergent that you use isn’t dependent on how dirty your sneakers are. We know how tempting it is to pile in the detergent for a pair of really muddy kicks, thinking they’ll come out as ultra-clean sneakers, but this can actually lead to staining and stiffening. A normal dose of detergent is always sufficient.
  • Air-drying: Once the washing cycle is done, there isn’t any need to put them in the dryer, as the spin cycles of the wash will get most of the moisture out of them anyway. The heat of the dryer can also badly damage the sneakers, so it’s best to just let them air-dry.

How to wash sneakers: Delicate materials

The best way to wash sneakers that are made from delicate materials is by using specialized cleaners. Suede, for example, can’t be cleaned with water as it often damages the material. A suede eraser solution works perfectly, as does a leather cleaner for leather sneakers. If you’re not sure how to best clean your sneakers, visit a specialized shoe shop as they can often give you advice on the best products to use and can tell you how to wash sneakers made from less common materials.